The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

A Twist of Tangerine Tango


Pantone Color Institute
Pantone Color Institute
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So as you may already know, Pantone's color of the year is Tangerine Tango, a reddish-orange that certainly has a lot of pop.  I love it in combination with neutrals and other colors, and it's got enough red in it to compliment most complexions (me and orangey-orange are not such great friends).  Tangerine Tango plus any shade of purple is my current favorite combo, like this flower pin I made (free tutorial here). 

I just finished this pencil skirt for Diane, one of my best clients:

The fabric is a super-soft, stretch corduroy that I found on  I love the retro print!  I'm trying to convince Diane that the perfect top for this is a tangerine tango blouse, like this one that I found in an Australian vintage shop:

I think that this top has sold but the same shop has a gorgeous tangerine jacket

Here it is paired with one of my bags (in my Etsy shop).  See?  The tangerine color works!

And then who wouldn't want these shoes to go with it???

 、红色、鞋、高跟鞋、High heels、脚、足下风光、浓烈、绚丽、艳丽、艳红、热烈、绚烂

I just bought this beautiful tangerine fabric to make myself a blouse and I'm now on the hunt for a pattern (preferably something with a cowl neck).  Any suggestions??

Mother and Daughter Skirts

I thought I'd update you on my skirt projects, as I've been working on these for clients alongside my personal projects. I finished a skirt for S. this week but then forgot to take a picture before delivering it to her. I can show you the fabric, which is this lovely stuff from Gorgeous Fabrics:
Raindrops at Dawn Stretch Twill - Brown/Fuchsia/Tan

She wanted to do it as a gathered yoke skirt (like this one I made for D), and I found a dark brown gabardine for the yoke that matched perfectly with the brown in the fabric.

Now I'm working on skirts for a mother and daughter client pair.  They are both using a similar idea - a dark wash denim skirt with contrasting fabric at the hem and pockets - but each has it's own twist.  The mother wants a pencil skirt with a wide waistband and a zipper slit at the back, and she chose a faux suede for the trim.  Here it is before the fitting (and I haven't attached the pockets yet, so they aren't really uneven!):

The daughter wants an above-the-knee A-line with small slits at each side seam.  Here's the fabric she picked out:

I love this print!  It's called Scales Grey by Brandon Mably (it coordinates with another lovely fabric called Fish Lips).

I'm happy to get the bias tape maker out again as I haven't used it since making E's funky skirt.  We'll see what I get up to now that it's back in action . . .

That's it for the week, Readers.  Have a great weekend!  Onward, ho!

Free Sewing Tutorial: Ultrasuede or Felt Flower Tutorial


I love making fabric flowers and I am always hunting for new ideas in the online tutorial community.  Since I have learned so much from other's tutorials, I thought it was time to share one of my own.  I was looking for a way to make polished-looking flower pins for coats and bags that didn't require a lot of time, and this is what I created.

What you'll need:
*Scraps of ultrasuede or felt for the petals
*Matching thread
*Two 3x3 squares of felt or ultrasude for the backing
*Brooch pin
*Hot glue gun
*Button or scrap (or both!) for center of flower

I found my first piece of ultrasuede by chance at the Economy Shop, a local thrift store.  I didn't know what it was at first but I knew that I had found something wonderful: soft texture, lovely color, thick enough to hold it's shape, and - best of all! - no fraying when cut!  I thought it was regular faux suede and I was disappointed when I ordered faux suede online only to find that it frayed just as much as any other fabric.  I did some research and came up with Ultrasuede, but it is very expensive by the yard.  So I was very pleased to find the Etsy shop 3crafties, which sells packs of ultrasuede packs in a lovely range of colors.  I'd stay away from the 1 inch strips, but anything larger should give you enough to make a range of petal sizes.  I also have a local resale and re-upholstery shop which saves me scraps when they have them (and they give them to me for free!), so that's another good place to look.

Step 1: Make your petal templates
Fold a piece of paper or medium-weight interfacing in half and draw on half of your petal shape.  You want the bottom of the petal to be flat across.  I use a rounded petal and a pointed petal, and I have them in a range of sizes (after I got a shape I liked, I just added or subtracted 1/4 inch around the petal).  Here's what they will look like once you cut it out and open it up:

Step 2: Cut out petals
I usually use 6-7 petals per layer and I like the look that 3 or more layers give to the finished flower.  I often use a larger size petal for the two outside layers and a smaller size petal for the inside layer, but you should play around with this to see what you like best.

Once you have your petals cut out, cut a small slit from the bottom of the petal to about 1/3 of the way up the petal.

Step 3: Shape petals
To create the petal shape, close the petal together at the slit, like this:

Hold the petal shape in place and stitch it shut.  You could probably use a dab of hot glue to hold it closed if you don't want to do the stitching. 

I've found that sometimes the different sides of ultrasuede have slightly different textures, so make sure that you have all the petals curved with the same side up.

Step 4: Sew petals to backing
Take out the 3 x 3 square of felt or ultrasuede and lay out the bottom layer of petals in a circle.  I usually pin and repin the first round of petals until I get a shape I like.

Now you need to sew the petals to the backing with a running hand stitch.  After you have the first layer of petals sewn, pin and then sew the second layer.

Finally, pin and sew the last layer.

Step 5: Add center of flower
Now you can get creative with the center of the flower.  I use a scrap of felt or ultrasuede cut into a circle, a strip of pinked felt rolled in to a circle, and/or a button to finish off the center of the flower.  You can thread or hot glue to attach the center to the flower. 

Step 6: Add brooch pin and finish back
Turn the flower over so that the backing faces up.  Trim off the felt or ultrasuede, being careful not to cut through your stitches, so that the backing is now a circle. 

Don't worry if this isn't pretty - it will be covered up in a moment.

Cut the second square of felt or ultrasuede into a circle the same size or slightly larger.  If you want to add a label, sew in on the circle now.  Heat up your hot glue gun and glue the second circle on top of the flower backing.  Use hot glue to attach the brooch pin to the backing.

And you are done!  Here are some examples of flowers I have made this way.  If you have questions, please leave a comment.  If you want a flower pin but don't want to make it, check out my Etsy store to see what I have in stock or contact me for a custom order.  Enjoy!

Hat's On!

Another problem I had to solve over the holidays was substituting harder-to-make gifts with easier-to-make gifts (which is all I had time for).  My girls needed larger winter hats so I thought that might be a fun thing to try.  I looked around online for inspiration and then came up with this:

These are the hats I made for my girls.  I used dark purple velour that I picked up at the Economy Shop and fabric scraps for the flowers.  This was my first time doing applique and I'm pleased with how it turned out!

Since then I've made one for myself and one for my best friend's daughter, both out of fleece.  I think I might try selling these on Etsy next year (unless someone needs a hat this winter, that is . .  .)

Here are some more pics:

New Life

I'm back!  I had a wonderful break with my family, although I wasn't able to complete as many personal projects as I had hoped due to a stomach bug that worked it's way through everyone in the family.  But, as usual, problems lead to creativity.

The problem I most recently needed to solve was what to wear New Year's Eve for a dinner out with my husband.  It was December 30th, and I didn't have enough time to make the dress I really wanted to make.  So I looked through my closet and found this dress:

I hate this dress.  I bought it in a hurry for a formal wedding about 12 years ago and only wore it once.  I've tried to sell it, because it is a good quality dress, but I've never had any takers.  But it does have some nice dart detail and the fabric is good so it seemed worth saving:

So I decided to see what I could do with it.

One of my Christmas presents was a book called Little Green Dresses, which is all about repurposing clothing from your own wardrobe or from things that you might find in a thrift store.  I didn't use any of the patterns/projects from the book, but I did look to it for inspiration.  And I decided I would cut a big chunk off the dress and use the extra material to create some sort of ruffle/bottom.

This part was a lot of fun - snip! snip!

I tinkered with the slant of the bottom and decided to do pleats instead of ruffles along the hem.

And, voila!  A new dress and all it cost me was some thread and about 3 hours of time!